The Underwater Research Group of Queensland was officially formed on the 13th April 1954 with the aim of learning about the marine world. There were 3 sub-groups: research, photography and sporting. The first meeting was held at Dr Raff Cilento's rooms in Wharf St, Brisbane City. Raff Cilento's was member, number 1 and Lyle Davis, a manufacturer of early diving equipment in Australia, was member, number 2. Up to the present day, we have had more than 1440 members.
In 1954, there was little diving gear available and, if it was, it was very expensive. Therefore, much of the scuba equipment was hand-made by members with varied success and the occasional failure. Members made their own wetsuits - the most original being woollen jumpers coated with liquid rubber. One enterprising member even made a brass waterproof watch housing in 1957 - a penny was used for the bottom.
Air cylinders were made from ex-military liquid CO2 cylinders, demand valves were made from various items from Schrader valves to an ingenious one made from Mum's old metal pie dish. Keen members regularly prowled the Army disposal stores. Marine craft were also expensive - "let's make our own". They made boats, surf skis and surf boats (both unpowered and powered) and the occasional submarine.
For the keen photographer, there were no camera shops with cameras that you could take underwater. So again, members made their own housings, installing box brownies and Starlights in plumbing T-pieces and custom made boxes, mostly made from metal. Not only still cameras but member number 9, Don Weston (who shot award winning underwater movie films in the 1950s) made his own movie film housings. Photography is still popular with many members.
Since this first meeting in 1954, the group has steadily grown. From its beginnings, the Underwater Research Group of Queensland has been non political, non sectarian and a non profit organisation, being solely for the benefit of the members. We offer an alternative to diving with commercial operators. We believe that there is a place for both types of organisations. Our member-run club is for those who like to organise their own diving and has the added advantage of being able to dive where and when members choose.